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This Is Why Curiosity Killed The Cat And Doing What You Love Feels Hard

“I’m not trying to turn you into me. I’m trying to turn you into you.” – Shifu, Kung Fu Panda 3

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As I write this, I feel scared. In fact, I have spent my entire day [days even] NOT writing this – or anything else for that matter – because I always fear that I will not be able to provide you with enough value.

But let me start from the beginning:

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about all the people online who I admire; what I love about them, and what it is that draws me to their work. One thing I kept coming back to was how authentic they are, and how they just do their own thing. Unapologetically.

Even though they invest a lot of time, effort and vulnerability into their work, it seems effortless and full of genuine personality.

Every weak I crave to spend time with any version of them I have access to. I read their words, watch their videos, and listen to their voices. They are there for me in the morning as I get dressed, when I peel the potatoes, and when the universe knows I need a pick-me up.

But it’s not because their content is so radical, or every post delivers an epic paradigm-shift in a “my life will never be the same” kind of way, but because it is wonderful in a “being close to you makes me feel so good inside and happy,” kind of way.

What I think is YOU GET ME AND I AM SO HAPPY I FOUND YOU! Oftentimes, that is enough; it’s all I want. Sprinkle in some valuable anecdotes, insights, quotes, artwork and “aha” moments, and I’m happy in my nappy.

Do you ever have that feeling with people [online] and their work? Do you ever get that excited feeling of love that spreads in your stomach and as a smile across your face, when their images pop up or their new video is out?

They can be little rays of sunshine warming your face on a rainy day.

Going over these thoughts, however, I uncomfortably became aware of my emotions of jealousy towards these people. [I am very grateful that this jealousy was not infused with toxicity and malice, but with yearning and sadness.]

Why can’t I do the same? Why does creating, sharing, enjoying “the things I love” – feel so hard? When did I lose my joy; when did it stop being fun? When did I start fearing the blank page and replacing my creative endeavours with online browsing? When did writing and making up stories turn into consuming other people’s work and resenting them for doing it? When did I lose trust in my own abilities and that what I do is good enough; that what I love is good enough?

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Are You The Cheap Date You Wouldn’t Want Anyone To Meet? [ + Free Visualisation]

 

 

“The changes that matter most are more often changes in perception than changes in the world outside us.” – Paul McKenna

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Untitled-1hen Mr. Big brings Carrie Bradshaw to a grimy Chinese restaurant fortheir “post-coital dinner,” she bumps into old friend Mike Singer who is visibly embarrassed to meet her there.

After he fails to introduce Carrie to his date and tries to get rid of her, she knows something is off.

A few days later he tells her that even though his date is intelligent, caring and great in bed; she is not the kind of woman he would date openly [or consider beautiful].

In fact, even though she makes him feel more like himself than any other woman ever has, he is embarrassed to admit to even spending time with her.

She is his invisible woman.

The cheap date you take out to questionable bars outside of your usual hunting grounds; where you avoid eye contact with others as you walk to your place across sticky floors and hope that no one you know suddenly shows up.

The kind of date-arrangement that thrives on small talk and impersonal sex but withers away when it is confronted with too much authenticity and vulnerability.

Watching this episode of Sex and the City got me thinking:

How many of us do this – not to others – but to ourselves?

How many times do we treat ourselves like the cheap date, as we wait for a better version of ourselves to materialise?

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Dear Diary, I Might Be Recovering From Self-Inflicted Emotional Abuse

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” – C. JoyBell C.

ear DiDary, it has been four days since the last time I thought or said something negative about myself. Deciding that my life is too short and important to waste it with self-inflicted emotional abuse seems to be taking effect.

At first, the sneaky negative thought-ninjas tried to get to me, but they found no way through my new protective barriers. (Those protective barriers are made up of ignoring, not accepting, and using ‘get the fuck out of here, I don’t have time for this crap’ rude language.)

I have been watching them closely the last few days, and they have made camp just outside my conscious mind. I can feel how they are constantly trying to find new ways to weasel their way into my everyday thoughts. However, I think they are starting to lose interest, now that I no longer react to their provocations. Except for the occasional lousy attempt, they have stopped attacking me regularly. I can go for hours now, without hearing even one peep.

This ceasefire has brought me a lot of inner peace. At first I felt alarmed, when I woke up four days ago, and there was no nagging voice to greet me. There was no mention of the numerous failings that I had already accumulated before even stepping out of bed, and as I sat there, waiting for that voice to come, nothing happened.  My mind felt clear and open; like a brightly lit and cosy room, with the window slightly open to let the spring scented breeze waft in.

A little unsure (and suspicious) that first morning, I went about my day and decided to enjoy the feeling of contentment for as long as it would last. I admit that I felt very wary – and that I was awaiting an ambush at any moment. Nevertheless, nothing happened and as the days have gone by, I have had many neutral thoughts, and also a lot of happy and positive ones about myself.

Since that first morning of calm, something strange has happened: I used to wake up expecting to be attacked by negativity as soon as I opened my eyes. Before I even touched the ground, I had already not gotten up early enough, not planned my day well enough, or anything enough. Under constant attack, I would get up and go through the motions of a very uninspiring day – using all of my energy to survive the mental war.

Every thought brought on another wave of similar thoughts that would cost me even more energy and reduce every day and who I was to a state of NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!

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Look For The Awesomeness Of Others & Learn To Find It Within Yourself (When Self-love Still Feels Hard)

“I’m looking for a world where love will no longer be extraordinary.” – Patch Adams

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Untitled-1hen I used to commute to school, I spent a lot of time waiting for trains at the Munich central station. I always had a book with me, or some other form of distraction, to keep myself entertained.

Sometimes, however, I just sat there and watched the people around me.

Munich central station is a huge place, and it is needless to say that hundreds and hundreds of people frequent it every day. I used to (and still do) love imagining how many ‘coincidences’ had brought us all into each other’s lives in that particular moment, as we stood waiting at the platform.

As I looked at all these people, I started playing a little game with myself. The game had two rules:

  1. I had to find one thing I liked about every person I looked at
  2. Even if there was nothing, I had to look until I could find something

Sometimes what I liked was a handbag, a haircut, a smile, or a certain colour someone was wearing. Other times, I admired the courage someone was demonstrating by dressing radically different, or the openness with which someone responded to my gaze and smiled back at me.

It could be something I loved about their body, their clothes, or the way they behaved in this weird situation; a situation in which hundreds of people were crammed onto one narrow platform, trying not to look at or interact with anyone.

And, even if there was nothing I instantly liked about someone, I accepted the challenge of finding something anyway.

It has been nearly eight years since the first time I started playing this game, and I never thought that it would have such a big impact on me.

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Allowing Myself To Reclaim My Body, My Dreams & My “Muchness” (A Post In 6 Pictures)

 

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In my short life, I have often felt like I didn’t deserve things based on my body type, and the “rules” that seemed to be universally acknowledged by every one around me (and myself).

  • Do not wear a bikini if you are not this or that particular size (and please do not blind us with the paleness of your skin).
  • Your art is worth nothing, until somebody tells you it is. And even then, you will never be as good as the others who are “making it.”
  • You are not allowed to do certain things until somebody comes along and TELLS YOU you are. Modeling is one such thing.

I have a dear friend who stopped wearing skirts, because somebody once said that her legs don’t really look good enough to be displayed.

An fantastically talented artist I know is surprised to find that there are people in the world who love her, even though she considers herself such a  deeply flawed creature.

The famous writer Gail Carson Levine still feels awkward about her singing voice, because her father once said that women couldn’t sing.

Every day, someone feels entitled to tell  someone else what they can or can’t do – based on their own limitations, beliefs and fears.

Here is my personal list of things I did not deserve to do/have/dream of until last year:

I didn’t deserve to

be a writer, have a man who respected me, be a model, express my sexuality, have a sexuality, feel good without makeup, feel good with makeup, wear crop tops, go to the beach in a bikini, have it all, present myself confidently without the “perfect figure”, express what I am good at, stand to my flaws, stand to my talents, be authentic, feel good about being an introvert, be “different”, gracefully accept a compliment, have a man who makes me feel safe, express my feelings, be “out there”, have loads of money, be imperfect, be successful, be happy with my figure, just leave a destructive relationship, do what I love just because it makes me happy, accept where I am right now, embrace imperfection, ask for help, aim for the stars, land in the mud – and many things more.

So many negative words, assumptions and beliefs were steadily burnt into my mind and body. Things I was told. Casual remarks. Universal beliefs and ‘knowledge’. Expectations.

Slowly, slowly wrapping around me and consuming me.

I was eaten away by my fears and doubts, pretending that everything was OK. Accepting that this was what life had to be. Why should I be entitled to anything special; to anything else?

Slowly I stopped doing what I loved, the colour drained from my life – I was mummified alive.

 

 

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While I would love to dump the responsibility for all of this on my environment and faceless instances of society, I will admit to you that the only one who truly believed I didn’t deserve these things – was ME.

I have been my own gatekeeper to authentic happiness for more than two-thirds of my life.

I was the one who crawled after the world’s crumbs, feeling like I didn’t deserve any better. I was the one who constantly sabotaged herself, so that the light of my passion for life wouldn’t shine too bright. I was the one who body-shamed herself, because I could always have eaten better and done more exercises, or just punished myself for not being the ‘ideal’.

There was the constant sound of a whip in my head, lashing at me and demanding that I be more, do more, and be a better person. With every smack of the whip in my head I heard: not good enough, not good enough, not good enough, still not good enough, you will never be good enough…

I completely stripped myself of self-love, self-worth, and self-esteem, and stowed them neatly away in a box, until the day that I would prove myself deserving of them.

 

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If that inner voice of yours is any bit as nasty as mine, you know that this magical moment of “good enough and deserving,” will never EVER come by itself.

You are never thin enough, active enough, happy enough, in love enough, taken care of enough, or fantastic enough for the content of that box to be given back to you.

Underneath my facade – there was nothing left of me. I had gone lost. Scared to laugh in case somebody could think I was happy.Scared of the woman and person I could be. Disappearing in self-hate, shame and neglect. Like a cloud of white smoke – I dissolved into nothingness. 

Until one day something changed. I asked myself:

Why not?

Why was I not deserving of these things? Who was stopping me? Who was holding a gun to my head and demanding that I accept all these negative stories I feed myself every day? Why should the opinion of some other person be worth more than my own? Why would I look to other people first to inform my opinion of myself?

WHY does someone else have the right to an opinion of me that weighs more than my own? WHY can’t I be and do whatever I want? WHY do I have to wait for anyone to ALLOW me?

SELF-LOVE, SELF-WORTH, and SELF-ESTEEM, are my natural birthright. No matter where I am on my personal journey, no matter who I am, how I look like, or what I do – I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE WHATEVER I CAN MAKE POSSIBLE FOR MYSELF!

I am allowed to love myself, have confidence, and go for the cakes, rather than the crumbs of this world. I have the right to believe in myself and take care of myself – no matter what, and no matter what I look like.

 

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However, this is not something that is just handed out freely. Nobody is going to scout you and say: “congratulations, you are now allowed to love yourself. You are allowed to be [insert ambition/dream) and you are also allowed to [insert what you want to do] now!

Most likely, many people will only gladly encourage your emotional and physical deterioration, because that way you are so much more like each other.

They will help wrap those bandages of self-hate, shame and hoplessness tighter, so that we may all suffocate together.

That I am the one who has to decide what I allow myself, and when I feel good about myself, is something so completely self-evident that it took me 22 years to actually  realise it. But,

once I realised that I had the power and the agency to RIP OFF all those horrible bandages of internalised and emotional sewage MYSELF- my world transformed. 

Suddenly, I was deserving of EVERYTHING I desired. I was allowed to invest myself into whatever I wanted with passion. I could be and do whatever I wanted on the condition that I truly dedicated myself to it and made it happen for myself.

I stopped waiting for someone to tell me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do. 

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But the most important realisation for me was: 

I needed to believe that I was deserving of my own love and the love of others, and that I was a person of worth, RIGHT NOW. 

Not after a diet, not after my first sale, that suntan, that outfit, that relationship, that size, that success, that muscle tone, that interview – now. 

I had always been deserving of self-love, self-worth, self-esteem and doing whatever it was I wanted. I just had to get out the rusty key that I had hidden away, open the box, and give myself back all that I had always wanted but never allowd myself to have, or even think of. 

This is a journey that can be overwhelming; that has its great and its crap days. It is an ongoing practice – something I have to allow myself every day.

It cannot happen overnight, but it can begin overnight.

I know that it can be overwhelming. I know that it can be scary. And I will tell you that it is an ongoing practice. It is not something that happens overnight.

However, it can begin overnight…once it is allowed to.

 

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My journey started when I stopped accepting the crumbs I was given, and that I was giving myself. FUCK CRUMBS!

There will only be big, fat, creamy, chocolate cakes for me from now on. 

I invite you to this decadent feast, and I will of course be serving tea.

xox

Cat

Model/Reatouch*: Cat De Pillar/ Photographer: My dear friend Bernd Rößler. *No body, skin or blemish retouch, only the lighting was adjusted, and the writing added.

 

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Empty Notebooks, Perfectionism & Allowing Myself To Start Small

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“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” (Anne Wilson Schaef)

I have a lot of notebooks.

Fresh – beautiful – colourful – notebooks. In fact, I could open a stationary shop with the amount of notebooks, papers and pens I own. What they all have in common, though, is that they are empty. I never want to start writing into them, because nothing I could write or put into them feels special enough. I am forever waiting for “something special” to write into my notebooks.

My notebooks lie untouched in the shelves and are denied their notebook destiny. Similar to the FRIENDS episode where Phoebe mourns all the Christmas trees that will not fulfil their Christmas destiny because they are considered too ugly – just that I find my notebooks too beautiful, and my words and sketches too unworthy of them.

In fact, my whole life feels like a beautiful – but unwritten – notebook. Even though I have gotten much better in filling my life with all the things I love and that inspire me, I have never allowed myself to go “crazy;” to truly follow the eccentric, creative way I so long for and envy in others.

Everything about me is still so very – controlled. By perfectionism and the fear of failure.

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